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Guide to the Werner Brandt Papers
(Bulk 1956-1983)

New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2641

New York University Archives

Collection processed by New York University Archives staff.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 23, 2018
Finding aid written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Jasmine Larkin for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description.  , October 2018

Biographical Note

Werner Brandt was a professor of physics at New York University and the director of its Radiation and Solid State Physics Laboratory. He headed research that investigated atomic radiation and solid state physics. Brandt was also an enthusiastic advocate of the arts and supported interdependence between science and humanities.

Brandt was born in Kiel, Germany on May 19, 1925. His mother was descended from a long line of scientists, philosophers, and physicians, and both his grandfather and father taught at the University of Heidelberg. Brandt received his bachelor's degree (1948), his master's (1950), and his PhD (1951) from Heidelberg. In 1951, Brandt also began working with Niels Bohr at the University Institute of Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen. It was there that Brandt became interested in research on the interaction of charged particles with matter. Brandt joined the Dupont Research Laboratories in Wilmington, Delaware in 1952, with the purpose of exploring the uses of atomic waste. In 1957, Brandt became a United States citizen. As leader of research in the Dupont Radiation Physics Laboratory, Brandt concluded that atomic wastes were dangerous to the environment.

Brandt's research shifted from the industrial setting to the academic. From 1961-1966, he was an associate professor of physics at New York University. Here, Brandt helped plan, build, and direct (from 1967 onward) the Radiation and Solid State Laboratory. While in this capacity, he investigated the interactions of matter with energy (light, electrons, positrons, heavily charged particles, etc.). Brandt conducted research on the collective effects in atoms, on inner shell excitation of atoms by swift ions, and on energy losses by swift ion clusters in solids. He was also an expert in thermalization and diffusion of positrons in solids and on the behavior of positrons in molecular substances. Besides being director of the lab, Brandt was also Chairman of the Physics Department from 1967-1968.

Brandt taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1958-1960), the University of California at San Diego, and at the universities of Aarhus, Munich, Grenoble, and Paris. From 1962-1969, Brandt maintained close ties to the French National Institute for Scientific and Nuclear Techniques and Swedish scientific and technical industries. He was Nordita Professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Chalmers Technical University in Gothenburg from 1963-1964.

In 1982, he was senior management and scientific consultant to Eka AB, a chemical company. He was also associated with Oak Ridge and Brookhaven National Laboratories, Grumman Laboratories, and NASA. Brandt's other accomplishments include receiving the Humboldt award in 1978 for scientific research and public services and being a fellow of the American and European Physical Societies.

Werner Brandt died of cancer in Sweden on 1 January 1983. At the time of his death, Brandt was nominated for the Legion d'Honneur. He is remembered for his research on matter, energy, and radiation, as well as his interests in music, art, and literature.